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One factor which is hard to quantify but which I think will be of some importance is the willingness and ability of the various regional powers that be to subsidise (or outright hand out) energy to countries in their sphere of influence (or countries that they want to be in their sphere of influence).

For instance, even though it might look like the Caucasian countries are in a pretty bad shape, it is not impossible that Russia might consider it a good deal to prevent them from collapsing altogether (at least if they behave themselves and get back into Moscow's sphere of interest). If for no other reason then in order to avoid having two thousand km of Chechnya-look-alikes on their Southern border. This could be modeled after the situation that obtained in Eastern Europe before the Colour Revolutions, so it is not entirely unprecedented.

At the other end of the spectrum, I expect things to be harder on some of the Latin American countries than a naïve look at the figures would suggest, because the only major power in the region at the moment - the Big Neighbour to the North - is all but openly hostile to a lot of those countries. Unless Venezuela can bail them out, of course.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:22:01 PM EST
I think it is very much in the interest of the EU to shore up the former Soviet republics, not so much out of concern for the possibility that they may fall back under Russian control, but because of the potential for internal unrest. Belarus should be of particular concern, but also obviously Moldava, Ukraine, Armenia dn Georgia.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:40:45 PM EST
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Venezuela can't, at least not without seriously hurting itself which would presumably hurt Chavez' domestic popularity. Its production is down, its consumption is up (courtesy of very heavily subsidized oil prices). And it's current aid program of at cost supply of 80,000 bd to Cuba, 30,000 bd to Nicaragua plus smaller amounts of politically motivated aid is already a significant expense -  more than the US spends on Iraq plus Afghanistan as a percentage of GDP.  On the other hand, the two biggest Latin American economies, Brazil and Mexico, don't import oil. Note that for Nicaragua this subsidy is absolutely huge as a percentage of GDP - $100x30kx365 = just over a billion dollars a year or almost one fifth of its 2006 GDP.
by MarekNYC on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:27:10 PM EST
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Mexico

Yet.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 29th, 2008 at 12:28:26 AM EST
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Mexico is going the way of Indonesia, and Brazil doesn't import oil because in the 1970's it made a national push to ethanol.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 29th, 2008 at 04:06:28 AM EST
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